Family Child Care (Home-Based Programs)

young students in a classroom for Group story time with masks on

Home-based programs, also known as family child care programs, offer 3-K and EarlyLearn in a home setting by a licensed, qualified, child care provider.

In this setting, children are served in mixed-age groups with other children from birth to three years old. These programs are consistent with 3-K and EarlyLearn programs offered in center-based and district school settings, and are overseen by the Department of Education and a Family Child Care Network organization that provides instructional resources, coaching, and family support.

Families may choose to enroll their children in home-based early childhood programs because of their many unique strengths:

  • Children can form strong relationships with caregivers by continuing in the same program from six weeks to three years old.
  • Children can interact with other children, including siblings, in a mixed-age setting.
  • Children can begin their early education in a familiar setting before transitioning to center- or school-based pre-K, if that is the family's preference.
  • Families can have access to programs that offer longer days and years to meet the needs of work or school schedules.
  • Families can find programs that are conveniently located close to home, work, or school.
  • Families may find that home-based programs best reflect the language and culture of their community.

Like center - and school-based programs, home-based programs help children learn, grow, and explore the world around them. Home-based programs use DOE-approved curriculum, and the providers receive professional learning and coaching to support quality play-based instruction.

There are two different types of 3-K options in most family child care programs. Families who qualify for a child care subsidy are eligible for an extended day (8-10 hours per day) and full year services. Families who are only interested and eligible for the 3-K school day and year services attend the program for 6 hours and 20 minutes each day during the regular school year. View the flyer below to learn more about the 3-K school day and year option in family child care. 

young students in a classroom for Group story time with masks on

EarlyLearn children (infants and toddlers) are also welcome to apply for subsidized child care in a family child care home. A contracted DOE FCC Network can support you in determining eligibility and completing your child care application.

To enroll your child in a home-based program, visit our 3-K enrollment page for three-year-olds or EarlyLearn enrollment page for infants and toddlers. These pages also contain information about subsidized child care so you can understand whether you might be eligible.